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(B.C.) Surrey Schools Launch Project Lavender to Combat Online Dangers for Students

Surrey School District, in partnership with Surrey RCMP, launched Project Lavender to educate students in Surrey and White Rock, B.C., on online safety and prevent sexual exploitation. Targeting Grades 6 and 7, this initiative aims to create a safer digital environment through school presentations and resource sharing.

In response to the growing concern over online safety for young people, Surrey School District, in partnership with Surrey RCMP, have initiated Project Lavender, a program designed to educate students on the potential hazards of online and in-person interactions. This proactive approach aims to foster a safe digital environment for students across Surrey and White Rock, B.C.

Project Lavender began in 2019 as a targeted in-school presentation developed by Surrey RCMP, focusing initially on female students to address critical issues such as texting, sexting, sexual exploitation, and the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. Over the years, the program has broadened its reach, now engaging approximately 150 classes annually, with a primary focus on older elementary and younger secondary students, particularly those in Grades 6 and 7.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Shawn Blakeway emphasizes the importance of early intervention, especially as technology becomes an integral part of students’ lives, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program leverages this reality as a foundation to discuss the safe use of social platforms, the risks associated with sharing personal images, and the legal consequences that can follow.

A surprising revelation for many students is the legal implications of sharing explicit images among peers, which can constitute a criminal offense under the Criminal Code of Canada. Project Lavender seeks not only to inform but also to provide students with resources and avenues for help, including teachers, counselors, parents, and external organizations like Protecting Surrey Schools Together (PSST).

The content of Project Lavender’s discussions varies, taking into account the age of the students and the unique challenges faced by different schools within the district. By engaging directly with students and addressing their questions, the program ensures that the information provided is relevant and impactful.

As online trends continue to evolve, Project Lavender is committed to updating its resources and approach to maintain effective communication with students. The ultimate goal, as Cpl. Blakeway states, is to “help them be more mindful about their interactions online and in-person.”

For more information about Project Lavender and additional student safety resources, visit the Surrey RCMP and Protecting Surrey Schools Together (PSST) websites.

Source: Press release.

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